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Utility of group treatment for trauma-affected refugees in specialised outpatient clinics in Denmark: A mixed methods study of practitioners’ experiences

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Objective: Group treatment (GT) is proposed as a relevant and cost-effective intervention for trauma-affected refugees. Due to heterogeneity in symptoms and culture, GT with trauma-affected refugees is also assumed to pose certain challenges. The aim of this study was to explore practice-based experiences and gather recommendations from practitioners working with GT of trauma-affected refugees. Methods: This sequential, explorative, mixed methods study included 32 practitioners with GT experience, representing all outpatient clinics in Denmark providing specialised treatment for trauma-affected refugees. The study was conducted in two strands. Strand 1 comprised two questionnaires assessing characteristics of and experiences with various group programmes. Strand 2 comprised five semi-structured interviews, which elaborated on findings from Strand 1. Descriptive statistics were applied on quantitative data. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Group treatment is widely utilised and most practitioners reported favourable treatment experiences. Groups were applied for varied purposes, most often psychoeducation, and organised in various ways. Practitioners experienced treatment guided by patient-centred clinical objectives, such as interpersonal learning, as more meaningful and effective than treatment primarily aimed at accommodating administrative aims such as cost-effectiveness. Interpersonal dynamics were identified as a significant challenge and potential advantage in GT of trauma-affected refugees. Careful inclusion and establishment of safety were among factors identified by practitioners as beneficial for treatment delivery. Conclusions: The findings support the potential of GT for trauma-affected refugees. Results can be used to inform group programmes and inspire further empirical research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

ID: 56511158